Aeronautical giant Boeing has set up a new organisation, called Boeing NeXt, with the specific task of bringing innovation to the field of unmanned self-propelled aircraft and developing a blockchain Boeing.
The new organisation will leverage the research and development activities of the parent company and investments in areas such as stand-alone flight and advanced propulsion.
In this regard, they announced that they have entered into a partnership with an AI company, SparkCognition, to develop new Unmanned aircraft system Traffic Management (UTM) solutions.
Boeing and SparkCognition will use not only artificial intelligence, but also blockchain-based technology to track unmanned vehicles in flight, so they can correctly allocate corridors and traffic routes to the various aircraft to ensure safe and secure transport.
The collaboration also includes the development of a standardized programming interface to support parcel delivery, business control and other commercial applications.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures had already invested in SparkCognition to support the development of a data-driven analytical platform for security and reliability, so the collaboration between the two companies is long-term.
According to Amir Husain, founder and CEO of SparkCognition, urban air mobility has the potential to create a $3 trillion market but requires security, innovation, scalability and reliability.
The blockchain could play a crucial role in ensuring these characteristics, especially with regard to the safety and reliability of the data on which unmanned air traffic management will inevitably have to be based.
Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s Technology Director, said: “We’re at a point in history where technological advances and societal trends are converging to demand bold solutions and a different way to travel. Boeing has the experience and expertise to safely and efficiently shape this emerging world of travel and transport. Through Boeing NeXt, we intend to build on our legacy of opening up new frontiers to move people and goods with proven technologies.“
Steve Nordlund, Vice President of Boeing HorizonX and future director of Boeing NeXt, added that “by taking a holistic approach that combines Boeing’s strength in technological innovation with new business models and nontraditional partnerships, we are laying the foundation for the future commercial mobility ecosystem. We are shaping the physical and connectivity infrastructure to ensure new air vehicles safely operate in the global airspace.“